Copper theft has been running rampant across the U.S for years, with everything from plumbing to cabling being stolen and sold as scrap. So as security tightens at building sites, thieves and junkies are turning to the copper cabling in electric car chargers to make a buck.
The price of copper has skyrocketed in the last decade, trading at around 80 cents a pound in 2004 and now hovering right around $3. During that same time, metal theft has increased over 80 percent, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. And the American Supply Association estimates damages to businesses to top $900 million annually.
Transport Evolved is reporting about a recent spate of thefts in Vancouver, BC, where several charging stations have been vandalized, sometimes more than once. The perps are reportedly using bolt cutters to clip the cables, and because the amount of copper inside is relatively small, it doesn't sound the alarm at scrapyards.
This is less of an issue in the U.S. because of the Metal Theft Prevention Act of 2013, where anyone selling copper or other metals to a recycler has to provide some kind of documentation about where they got the scrap. But unscrupulous resellers take what they can get, and when thieves figure out that the new DC fast-chargers have even more precious metals inside, the problem could increase.